First player, captain and Canadian goalscorer retires
Author: Asif Hossain
Media Affiliate:
Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - 2:31pm

TORONTO -- Wednesday's Jim Brennan retirement marks the end of an era for Toronto FC.

Not only for the obvious reason that the passing of a captain's armband signifies a shift in the locker room, but where Toronto FC is concerned, this club is now officially out of its expansion era.

As one of the club's early employees dating back to the fall of 2006, I had the privilege to see Toronto FC up close at its infancy when it only consisted of Mo Johnston and his first player signing, Jim Brennan.

The local player who made it in England had returned home to finish his career with the first top flight Canadian football club in the fledgling Major Leage Soccer.

In 1999 Nottingham Forest had paid the equivalent of $2.6 million (cdn.) to Bristol City for his services a record transfer sum for a Canadian player at the time.

A few years later Brennan played a role in Norwich City's First Division title win in 2004, despite an injury riddled season that relegated him to only nine appearances.

After a stint with Southampton in 2006, Brennan was anxious to come home after Toronto was awarded an MLS club, despite a significant drop in pay associated with the move.

Brennan was the poster boy for all things TFC in those early days.

Partly because Toronto didn't have any other players, but it was mainly due to the fact that he was an instant fan favourite thanks to his sense of humour and approachability. More than most he was always proud to be wearing that Red shirt, which he has helped to make famous in North American football in its first three seasons.

Brennan was everywhere the club needed him to be. From photo shoots to pub crawls, shaking hands with every supporter and executive client the club put in front of him, giving countless interviews on numerous shows on television and radio, Brennan never complained. He knew his job was to help the club grow and he did it with a smile.

On the pitch, he sometimes did things like this. "I got to retire with the club I love," said Brennan at his press conference.

When Brennan utters these words, he truly means it. He has been an impeccable ambassador for Toronto FC and the club couldn't have asked for a more suitable inaugural captain.

The expansion era of Toronto FC is now officially over as the first player, captain and Canadian goal scorer in club history moves to the front office. It is now up to those who remain to take the Reds to the next level.

Brennan will continue to watch and work behind the scenes for the benefit of the club that shares his pride in the city, the supporters and the shirt.

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